What We Do
CEEL, the Community Engagement + Experiments Laboratory, is a mobile research laboratory based in the Political Science Department at the University of Oklahoma. We are a research laboratory, we offer classes and immersive research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students at OU and we engage with the community to collaborate on important research.
Research conducted through the laboratory covers a multitude of topics, but centers on the community at and around OU. The mobile nature of the lab allows researchers to take the resources to fieldwork sites and so enables us to gather data in a natural environment. Community members interested in participating in research at OU do not have to travel to OU to fill out a survey in a sterile laboratory setting: instead, trained OU undergraduate or graduate political science students can bring the survey to them. With CEEL, we survey citizens at political events, canvass neighborhoods, and conduct behavioral games. Current projects include an election exit poll in Oklahoma City and a survey of Oklahoman’s attitudes on immigration, jointly fielded by Joy Pendley’s Community Engagement Lab course and the Identity Coalition. We are also partnering with the Carl Albert Center at OU to collect oral histories of first time voters.
Research Experience for Students
Through coursework, students constantly consume knowledge. Through CEEL, they get the opportunity to cross the line: not only are they learning the intricacies of political science research, they themselves become producers of knowledge and so contribute to the discipline first hand. Projects are geared towards maximizing student exposure to all stages of research; they learn how to form questions for a survey, how to create a survey, how to field it, and how to analyze and interpret the data they’ve collected. To date, over 100 students have learned from and contributed to research at CEEL.
With our mobile lab we can reach community members who might otherwise be underrepresented in research. CEEL’s first field project, conducted in collaboration with the Community Engagement Lab course, surveyed residents of south Oklahoma City about emergency weather preparedness in both English and Spanish. On November 8th, CEEL conducted an election poll throughout Oklahoma City, recruiting participants from a diverse set of 12 precincts. To encourage community engagement beyond the department, the lab is opening its doors to both researchers in other departments at OU as well as non-university community-based research initiatives. If you are interested in working with CEEL, send us an email here.